Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.
There are dozen and dozen of flight schools which are doing their business with a good ethics what ever are the actual difficulties. It is true that a lot of school have closed recently making very tough situation for some students but there is also a lot of others who are battling everyday to keep their commitment with their students ?
And financial difficulties are not only happening in one way, what will you do when some students suddenly at the middle of there training are unable to pay their fee ? and beleive me it is not exceptional at all ...
I have to agree with Claude-CPS. I think the problem in online forums is that you always hear about the negative stories. This or that school went out of business and took all of the students' money and on and on.
What you don't hear about are some of the help provided to those students by other flight schools. Or schools that work within an ethical framework to make sure their students are taken care of. It would be nice to hear the positive stories instead of the negative!
Earlier in this thread somebody suggested a contract. Contracts will not protect you either, contracts only work if both parties abide by them. If the flight school doesn't where does that leave the student? Small claims court? Sue the school? At what additional expense? What if the school has cancelled the student's visa and they have to leave the country? It will never make it to court.
The safest course of action is still: DO NOT PAY LARGE AMOUNTS UPFRONT NO MATTER HOW MUCH DISCOUNT YOU GET OFFERED
It is perfectly fair for a school to ask you to keep your account in the plus. Deposit $1000-$1500 at a time and at the end of every day ask what your account is at. Yes, you go and ask when to pay. It's very frustrating to constantly have to run after students to remind them their account is low.
"Payment is due upon delivery of the service" this applies to both parties
And yes, I do work in the flight training industry.....
I echo what everyone else has said. As a student who has taken my training solely in the USA (Florida), and been working as a flight instructor on a Visa for nearly a year, I've seen good and bad things about my own flight school, and others.
Mimicking some things that other have said as well:
- DO NOT pay large sums up front. I have to echo what everyone else is saying here, it's stupid, and you're putting your money on the line. So many schools close down, don't do that mistake, you might never see them again.
- Get opinions from students/instructors who have studied/worked at the school(s) you are considering. I don't care what their admissions officers say, their only job is to get you enrolled. Previous students/instructors (hopefully) have none such agenda
- If possible, tour the school, talk to current students, try to find any potential problems with the school. Problems such as: poor maintenance, bad ratio on students vs instructors (in the sense that you wont fly enough), not enough airplanes vs students (again, that you don't get to fly enough).
- If your plan is to work as an instructor, ask current and previous student if the school hires all their students. (Most schools do, because they can take a huge advantage over something close to "free labor").
Lastly, look at the kind of training you will have to do. More and more schools REQUIRE you to do silly additional courses that are not required in any sense by the FARs or part 141 training. Like extra ground schools, extra flight training not affiliated with any type of 141 course, etc.
Until proper regulation is put in place to actually properly regulate flight schools, I'm afraid that the only protection a flight school student has it to pay as you fly.
As we found out from the owner of Jet University, strip clubs are more regulated than flight schools.
This industry needs proper state regulation that insures that the business is properly capitalized and has proper insurance as well as a trust account to protect the student's money.
Jet University did not have insurance and was not properly capitalized. No one (state or federal) had ever looked at their financal statements.
The problem goes much deeper than Jet University. Flight school students have lost over 100 million dollars in Florida over the past 8 years with flight schools that have not delivered what the students have paid for.
I would hope that legitimate flight schools would support and encourage such regulation to improve the health of the flight school industry and keep the bad guys out of the industry. These bad guys are stealing your potential students and not delivering the services paid for. This does not benefit your flight school, the industry or the student.
Avoid JAA flight schools in Florida at all costs, never pay bigger amounts upfront... On the other hand everyone who is siriously considering commercial pilot training at the moment must be mad anyways so you might aswell go down there and throw your money away.... Probably you will have a better time though if you fly straight to Las Vegas and blow your cash over there...
Get them to demonstrate their student turn-around time. How many schools advertise a 4 week CPL that actually takes 10 weeks? If they have nothing to hide, they should have evidence of recent students' training programmes.
I would pay up front, but no more than a few hours' worth of flying.
Make sure they can actually find/source an examiner. (Sounds silly, but some schools really struggle to get one in the right place at the right time).
Get a warm feeling about aircraft availability. If they only have one twin and you're down to do twin training, what is their plan if the aircraft goes tech? Do they have access to a spare? Is the one aircraft due an annual?
More regulation would be nice, but who can do it? The FAA already has 141 certification. But we have all seen how some FSDO's are QUITE lax with the 141 schools in their district. Who else out there will regulate the industry? One of the great parts of the industry is that it is for the most part, unregulated. That means anyone with a plane, the proper insurance, and a CFI can start a school. On of the worst parts of the industry is that anyone with a plane, the proper insurance, and a CFI can start a school!
There are some great schools out there. There are some really bad schools. Sometimes, it seems that the schools with all of the marketing dollars (and hence more students) tend to be the not-so-good schools!
Most states are already regulating vocational schools though their secondary education commissions. (or something similar). These state commissions have the ability and experience to regulate flight schools.
These commissions currently regulate business schools, truck driving schools, beauty schools, etc for financial capability, proper operation as well as safeguards to insure student money is protected.
The problem is that flight schools have somehow been EXEMPT (by state statutes) from these vocational school regulations for reasons that no one can explain other than they "thought" the FAA was regulating flight schools.
Of course, most of us know that the FAA DOES NOT REGULATE flight schools and has never looked at a flight school financial statement or even required a bond or insurance.
The most the FAA has ever done is look over and approve a 141 syllabus that allows for a REDUCTION in the number of required hours for a certificate or rating. (Why a new student needs less hours is beyond me since I have always heard students and pilots complain that they need more hours)
The FAA has never gotten involved in consumer problems such as student flight school issues.
The flight training industry has one of the most expensive costs of any education program. However it is the only one that we know of that has absolutely no regulation from the state or federal government. Regulation in this industry has just slipped through the cracks. That has allowed the bad guys to enter this industry unchecked and simply steal millions of dollars from flight school students without any real consequence.
The bad guys are bad for the good flight schools as well as the students.
Don't you think it also a question of good sense !!!!
If you find a school who advertise its training 0 to CPL in 250 hours for $35.000 when everybody is more or less in the $50.000, there is may be matter to be carefull !!!! or the ones who guaranty a job in the airline after the training when there is hardly any jobs at that moment !!!!
There is no miracle in aviation ....
It is certainly difficult for a foreigner to come and check a school in the US before signing but there is no excuse for the US students ....
Whatever you do, don't choose FTE Jerez (formerly Flight Training Europe, S.L.)
One of the biggest mistakes of my adult career was paying 103k for a CPL IR ME when it should have cost 40k
The ground instructors were assholes and are well-embedded hence likely to be there a while. People that had reached the end of their RAF career and found little else their skills were appropriate to other than flying training, although they had no experience of commercial flying and worse still had a belligerent tone towards it
I certainly understand and share the sentiments of students who undergo the dilemma during the training stage in their flying career. And I’m also aware on how flying schools conduct their business taking their student’s career at stake.
We need to understand that there’s no perfect business in this world. Even one of the largest and stable airlines in Asia (Japan Airlines) filed bankruptcy protection last January 19, 2010 and expected to lay off 15,000 employees.
Your choice in paying the school for your flight training depends on your financial capability and comfort. If you’re comfortable in paying the school in per flight basis then there’s nothing wrong with that. If you think paying half or full of your tuition upfront is ideal for you then there’s nothing wrong with that either. The only difference between the two is the application of your judgment. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking if you’re paying per flight basis. However, if you decide to pay a large amount of money for your training then you need to have proper judgment so you’ll not fall into false promises or scam. Neither of this payment method exempts you from any false promises, scam, or even risk. Some flight schools provide hidden charges in per flight or even package payment methods. And some are very good sales man that they’ll convince you to pay a large amount of money even they don’t have the quality of service you deserve based on the money you paid.
WHOM OF YOU HERE ESCAPES FROM THE TRAP OF A SCHOOL MANAGER WITH VERY PLEASING PERSONALITY AT THE FRONT BUT A LION AT THE BACK AIMING TO DEVOUR YOUR FINANCES?
AND WHOM OF YOU HERE KNOWS IT’S A SCAM IF YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE SCHOOL IS GOOD BECAUSE OF THEIR NICE FACILITY, GOOD EQUIPMENTS, AND IMPRESSIVE FLEET OF AIRCRAFT?
I BET NONE.
Neither of the payment method guarantees your success or escapes you from any risk. If you have the money and you’re just paying a per flight basis then there’s a big risk that you’ll spend it in another venture therefore interrupting the continuity of your training. Or, if you pay a big amount and end up in a school that’s closing down then you’ll also lose.
Most of the students who aim to become professional pilots nowadays have wrong perspective when embarking in this career. They choose the school that has an impressive facility, programs, equipments, and aircraft. None of these students knows the reality behind the business even with due diligence still it does not guarantee from the risk he or she is into. Every student has different opinions about the school, therefore, making it more complicated and confusing if obtaining views from other students.
The most important thing if you decide to become professional pilot and have a successful career in flying is to choose the best instructor (not a flying school). I was very lucky that I was mentored by one of the legend in aviation, William K. Kershner, who taught me the right stuff and helped me become successful in this career. You can find good instructors at National Association of Flight Instructors at NAFI - National Association of Flight Instructors if you’re planning to fly in the US. You can search for a master flight instructor or even flight instructors that are inducted in the hall of fame. The reason why the flight instructor is the most important thing is because they protect their name and profession in the industry and they shield you from any scams or bankruptcies. Additionally, if you have a good mentor then he or she will help you find a promising job. Remember that even if a flight school is directly attached or a subsidiary of an airline company, still it does not guarantee your employment after your training. And it does not guarantee that they’ll not close down if strike by economic crises.
I have been reading these forums for a while but hadn't registered before. I felt I wanted to respond to this one!!! I am Canadian and got my PPL in Canada but have been in the UK for a year. I had the same problem with the school I was at and very frustrating. They had a college program and put those students first. I remember getting one flight in three weeks. I ended up switching schools and finishing. Right now I am trying to figure out if I will do my CPL here or wait till I get back to Canada where it is cheaper.
I want to go back to Canada and be a bush pilot ideally but want to get as many hours on a floatplane so looking to see if I wait to go back to Canada if I can actually get a commercial license on floats. Anyone know?
I'm enrolled at FTE at the moment and I have to say I couldn't dissagree more at the moment- but this is what I'm seeing so I'm not saying your wrong. So far the instructors have been second to none in Ground School, and all s%^* flying instructors have been thrown out. The facilities now with the new 737NG sim are pretty good with the exception of some of the frasca's.. Yes it has its downsides but then don't all schools?
I have just been reading your posts on the difficulty you all have been having trying to decipher, between what's true and what's false with your flying schools. I for one have had first hand experience taking on a flying school that had deceived over 100 students. Many of us have lost over $5,000, which is a small fortune to most young people. To much to forget, and to little to take to court.
I would like to offer my advice in this instance. Don't fall into the trap of them telling you, "aviation is a small industry and we can make it very difficult for you." This was the phrase that Australian Wings Academy (AWA) continually told to all students to stop them from complaining. I personally have made more friends within the industry by taking on and assisting others against a corrupt organisation such as AWA. Trust me, if you do nothing, you will regret it for life. A group of current and ex-student (20+) have gotten together and reported AWA to every government department we could think of. We have also posted up on this forum [B][U]Flight Training Options No.2 the issues that we experienced with the school. We have had so many hits in the last month that when you type Australian Wings Academy on Google, PPRuNe "Flight Training Options" is the second link after the academy's website. We have been coordinated precisely to strike as a group.
There is no harm in telling the truth. As a group we want to rid the industry from corrupt/criminal organisations and I suggest you do the same. Evil prevails when good men/women stand by and do nothing. So….. lets not complain about the issues, do something about.
All these problems seem to be with Part 141 operators with 'programs'...
I did all my training Part 61, pay as you go...I had much more control, and it went as fast as I could learn.
But like so many others, I occasionaly ran into lousy schools, lousy instructors...they are everywhere...the trick is to be able to cancel a check, fire an instructor, and not let them 'get too deep into you' that you can't get your money back and move on to somewhere better.
Bait and Switch is almost 'American' by nature...slick advertising, sales peeps telling you what you want to hear...then when you write the check and they don't produce...it's very annoying, because they make their money based on the concept that if they rip off X amount of people, only Y amount will complain, collect, ect...
Here in the US, nobody will do anything right unless they are forced to...morality is dead. Serously. So if you pay as you go, they keep working for your money.
NO money has ever been lost to one of the few schools that are accredited like a college or university, and those are the only schools now allowed to have the F1 visa. Apparently the US government is considering a requirement for all visas (M1, etc) to be given only to accredited schools. The requirements for that are very strict and severely enforced. If everyone just limited their search to accredited schools this thread would never exist. This is the most important thing you can do.
As to paying up front, don't pay everything but, these are schools with set and very high expenses. Some pay over $100,000 per month just for insurance. Most non accredited schools don't have insurance, and this is something else people don't check out! They need to have a decent cash flow to exist and also to keep their prices as low as possible. I understand why they can't allow "pay as you go." Just get a contract, WITH AN ACCREDITED school and pay over 10 or 12 months. Make sure that is understood before you commit to the school and you will have no problems.
They can't run their school efficiently and at lower cost if they have to finance your training too.